Category Archives: Imperialism

Everyone Is Wrong About North Korea, by Darius Shahtahmasebi

Let’s see, 75 years ago the US bombed the living crap out of North Korea, and it is now threatening to do so again. North Korea has bombed nobody since the Korean Armistice. The US has bombed numerous countries and replaced their regimes. Yet, it’s the “irrational” North Koreans who threaten the peace of the entire world by threatening to retaliate if attacked, and US demands that North Korea give up its means of defending itself are wholly rational. From Darius Shahtahmasebi at  lewrockwell.com:

Imagine a world where one country – country X – is bombing at least seven countries at any one time and is seeking to bomb an eighth, all the while threatening an adversarial ninth state – country Y – that they will bomb that country into oblivion, as well. Imagine that in this world, country X already bombed country Y back into the Stone Age several decades ago, which directly led to the current adversarial nature of the relationship between the two countries.

Now imagine that country Y, which is currently bombing no one and is concerned mostly with well-founded threats against its own security, threatens to retaliate in the face of this mounting aggression if country X attacks them first. On top of all this, imagine that only country Y is portrayed in the media as a problem and that country X is constantly given a free pass to do whatever it pleases.

Now replace country X with the United States of America and country Y with North Korea to realize there is no need to imagine such a world. It is the world we already live in.

As true as all of this is, the problem is constantly framed as one caused by North Korea alone, not the United States. “How to Deal With North Korea,” the Atlantic explains. “What Can Trump Do About North Korea?” the New York Times asks. “What Can Possibly Be Done About North Korea,” the Huffington Post queriesTime provides 6 experts discussing “How We Can Solve the Problem” (of North Korea). “North Korea – what can the outside world do?” asks the BBC.

To continue reading: Everyone Is Wrong About North Korea

 

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Welcome to the Post-American World, by Tom Engelhardt

America looks everywhere for the causes of its decline…except in the mirror. An excellent analysis from Tom Engelhardt at tomdispatch.com:

Pardon Me!
High Crimes and Demeanors in the Age of Trump

Let me try to get this straight: from the moment the Soviet Union imploded in 1991 until recently just about every politician and mainstream pundit in America assured us that we were the planet’s indispensable nation, the only truly exceptional one on this small orb of ours.

We were the sole superpower, Earth’s hyperpower, its designated global sheriff, the architect of our planetary future.  After five centuries of great power rivalries, in the wake of a two-superpower world that, amid the threat of nuclear annihilation, seemed to last forever and a day (even if it didn’t quite make it 50 years), the United States was the ultimate survivor, the victor of victors, the last of the last.  It stood triumphantly at the end of history.  In a lottery that had lasted since Europe’s wooden ships first broke out of a periphery of Eurasia and began to colonize much of the planet, the United States was the chosen one, the country that would leave every imperial world-maker from the Romans to the British in its shadow.

Who could doubt that this was now our world in a coming American century beyond compare?

And then, of course, came the attacks of 9/11.  A mere $400,000 and 19 suicidal hijackers (mostly Saudis) armed with box cutters and organized from Afghanistan, a country plunged into an Islamic version of the Middle Ages, had challenged the greatest power of all time.  In the process, they would bring down iconic structures in what would soon be known to Americans as “the homeland,” while killing almost 3,000 innocent civilians, acts so shocking that they really did change the world.

Yet even then, a fervor for world-organizing triumphalism only took firmer hold in Washington.  The top officials of President George W. Bush’s administration almost instantly saw the 9/11 attacks as their very own “Pearl Harbor,” the twenty-first-century equivalent of the moment that had launched the U.S. on the path to post-World War II superpowerdom.  As Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld instantly told his aides in the rubble of the Pentagon, “Go massive.  Sweep it all up.  Things related and not.”  And indeed they would do just that, seizing the moment with alacrity and promptly launching the “Global War on Terror” — aka, among the cognoscenti, World War IV (the third, in their minds, having been the Cold War).

To continue reading: Welcome to the Post-American World

Pentagon report declares US empire ‘collapsing’, by Nafeez Ahmed

As the US empire collapses, the Defense Department calls for doubling down on the policies responsible for the collapse. From Nafeez Ahmed at renegadeinc.com:

Stunning new evidence reveals that the US Department of Defense is waking up to the collapse of American primacy, and the rapid unraveling of the international order created by US power after the Second World War.

The report demands a massive expansion of military-industrial complex to maintain global ‘access to resources’

But the Pentagon’s emerging vision of what comes next hardly inspires confidence. We breakdown both the insights and cognitive flaws in this vision. In future pieces we will ask the questions: What is really driving the end of the American empire? And based on that more accurate diagnosis of the problem, what is the real solution?

An extraordinary new Pentagon study has concluded that the US-backed international order established after World War 2 is “fraying” and may even be “collapsing”, leading the United States to lose its position of “primacy” in world affairs.

The solution proposed to protect US power in this new “post-primacy” environment is, however, more of the same: more surveillance, more propaganda (“strategic manipulation of perceptions”) and more military expansionism.

The document concludes that the world has entered a fundamentally new phase of transformation in which US power is in decline, international order is unravelling, and the authority of governments everywhere is crumbling.

Having lost its past status of “pre-eminence”, the US now inhabits a dangerous, unpredictable “post-primacy” world, whose defining feature is “resistance to authority”.

Danger comes not just from great power rivals like Russia and China, both portrayed as rapidly growing threats to American interests, but also from the increasing risk of “Arab Spring”-style events. These will erupt not just in the Middle East, but all over the world, potentially undermining trust in incumbent governments for the foreseeable future.

The report, based on a year-long intensive research process involving consultation with key agencies across the Department of Defense and US Army, calls for the US government to invest in more surveillance, better propaganda through “strategic manipulation” of public opinion, and a “wider and more flexible” US military.

To continue reading: Pentagon report declares US empire ‘collapsing’

The Twilight of Unipolar American Power, by Matthew Jamison

The US Empire is going the way of all empires. From Matthew Jamison at strategic-culture.org:

In 1962 the former US Secretary of State Dean Acheson quipped that: «Britain had lost an Empire and yet to find a role». Well, perhaps the same can now tentatively be said of the United States in these early, but profoundly debilitating days, of the Trump administration and its chaotic, incoherent foreign policy. The Trump administration’s approach to traditional American allies in Europe, the Middle East and Asia has been belligerent, nonsensical and highly neurotic. American foreign policy is a complete mess and the only people and country this is inflicting real damage on is the United States. For too long the United States’ global strategic posture has been one of extreme dominance, interference and intervention. Dominating Europe through NATO by pushing for unwise expansion of NATO’s borders all the way right up to Russia’s backyard. Dominating the Middle East through CIA interference, absurd and dangerous alliances with repressive Islamist backing Gulf Monarchies such as Saudi Arabia or barbaric secular military dictatorships such as Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in the 1970s and 1980s. Dominating the Asia-Pacific with its aircraft carrier (Japan) and certain puppet governments in South Korea; brutal and misguided interventions such as the grotesque Vietnam War and ludicrous/unnecessary «freedom of navigation» and «freedom of overflight» operations in the South China Sea. 

America now must learn the hard truth of it’s global position during this period of the Trump administration and beyond: the days of the United States dominating the world in an arrogant, absolutist, heavy-handed fashion and dictating to other nations what they can and cannot do (in particular in other nations territorial spheres of influence and backyards such as the South China Sea) are over and the United States must come to realise this and make the required if painful adjustment. It is no longer the only superpower on the planet and the days of American unilateral leadership are over whether it be political leadership, economic leadership or military leadership. The European Union is just as powerful economically as the United States when you combine the EU27 GDPs or PPPs. Russia is resurgent on the world stage, in particular in the Middle East, and most likely will be the main broker of peace in Syria. China is catching up economically fast on the United States and will undoubtedly overtake it economically within a few years (if it has not already) to become the planets number one economy while the days of American extreme and reckless military and political interference in the Middle East and Asia have produced nothing but chaos, violence, death & destruction and should be heavily curtailed with the prime examples being Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Yemen, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Korea.

To continue reading: The Twilight of Unipolar American Power

We had just experienced exactly the type of free and honest fight club conversation that ZeroHedge enables, by Hedgeless Horseman

I attended the conference that is the topic of this article, and made a presentation on “Breaking the Alternative Media’s Dependence on the Mainstream Media.” Soon I will release the text of that presentation, probably in parts since it was about a 45-minute speech. It was a great conference, and Hedgeless Horseman and Zero Hedge deserve a world of credit for hosting it. From Hedgeless at zerohedge.com:

At the time, my life just seemed too complete, and maybe we have to break everything to make something better out of ourselves.” 

-Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

I am still trying to interpret and integrate all that I experienced and learned about disintermediation, about myself, and about y’all at last week’s First ZeroHedge Symposium and Live Fight Club in Marfa, Texas. I hope that writing this after-action report will help me to better assimilate it.

Last Wednesday, I picked up the aquaponics speaker, Tim, upon his arrival from Hawaii at the airport.  My family and I got to know him well during our short 10.5 hour drive out to Marfa, and over the course of the next 6 days.  We now grok the differences between aquaponics and hydroponics, and the similarities between our two families.

For us, staying in the tepees, tents, and vintage aluminum trailers at El Cosmico proved to be a very good choice.  ZeroHedgers arrived and immediately coalesced around the open-air showers and community kitchens.  Usually the question of, “Are you here for the symposium?” was answered with a yes, a big smile, an offer of a beer or mescal, and an introduction such as, “Hello, I am hedgeless_horseman.”  

[The guy in the picture is Hedgeless Horseman]

Some of us had come a day early to tour the art at the Chinati Foundation.  I had very high expectations based on the reading I had done, and they were exceeded.  It was sublime to experience Donald Judd’s 100 untitled works in milled aluminum, in that particular light, architecture, and environment.  Another favorite was Robert Irwin’s relatively new permanent installation where we literally moved out of the darkness and into the light.  The full-day tour served as the perfect appetizer to clear, open, and prepare my mind for the three-day symposium.

Thursday afternoon, I learned from our gracious hosts in Marfa that a few special snowflakes, which had only recently fallen in this hot and dry desert, had started a petition for the city to ban us from holding the symposium in “their” town. I asked what the perceived problem was, and was told that they were afraid we were violent and white supremacists.  We all laughed, especially the non-whites and pacifists.  Someone asked if the special snow flakes were able to read the list of speakers and topics.  Apparently not.  However, I immediately suspected that their concerns and petition were just another clear case of FEAR, False Evidence Appearing Real.  This was confirmed when I agreed to be interviewed by one of them, a young woman from New York, who also claimed to be a freelance journalist.

To continue reading: We had just experienced exactly the type of free and honest fight club conversation that ZeroHedge enables

An Empire Self-Destructs, by Jeff Thomas

All empires eventually self-destruct, and the US empire will be no exception. From Jeff Thomas at internationalman.com:

Empires are built through the creation or acquisition of wealth. The Roman Empire came about through the productivity of its people and its subsequent acquisition of wealth from those that it invaded. The Spanish Empire began with productivity and expanded through the use of its large armada of ships, looting the New World of its gold. The British Empire began through localized productivity and grew through its creation of colonies worldwide—colonies that it exploited, bringing the wealth back to England to make it the wealthiest country in the world.

In the Victorian Age, we Brits were proud to say, “There will always be an England,” and “The sun never sets on the British Empire.” So, where did we go wrong? Why are we no longer the world’s foremost empire? Why have we lost not only the majority of our colonies, but also the majority of our wealth?

Well, first, let’s take a peek back at the other aforementioned empires and see how they fared. Rome was arguably the greatest empire the world has ever seen. Industrious Romans organized large armies that went to other parts of the world, subjugating them and seizing the wealth that they had built up over generations. And as long as there were further conquerable lands just over the next hill, this approach was very effective. However, once Rome faced diminishing returns on new lands to conquer, it became evident that those lands it had conquered had to be maintained and defended, even though there was little further wealth that could be confiscated.

The conquered lands needed costly militaries and bureaucracies in place to keep them subjugated but were no longer paying for themselves. The “colonies” were running at a loss. Meanwhile, Rome itself had become very spoiled. Its politicians kept promising more in the way of “bread and circuses” to the voters, in order to maintain their political office. So, the coffers were being drained by both the colonies and at home. Finally, in a bid to keep from losing their power, Roman leaders entered into highly expensive wars. This was the final economic crippler and the empire self-destructed.

To continue reading: An Empire Self-Destructs

Coming Apart: The Imperial City At The Brink, by Alastair Cooke

The American empire and its elite now look like a lot of other empires and their elites that collapsed. From Alastair Cooke at theautomaticearth.com:

Alastair Crooke: David Stockman routinely refers to President Trump as the ‘Great Disrupter’. But this is not a bad quality, he insists. Rather, it is a necessary one: Stockman argues (my paraphrasing) that Trump represents the outside force, the externality, that tips a ‘world system’ over the brink: It has to tip over the brink, because systems become too ossified, too far out on their ‘branch’ to be able to reform themselves. It does not really matter so much, whether the agency of this tipping process (President Trump in this instance), fully comprehends his pivotal role, or plays it out in an intelligent and subtle way, or in a heavy-handed, and unsubtle manner. Either serve the purpose. And that purpose is to disrupt.

Why should disruption be somehow a ‘quality’? It is because, during a period when ‘a system’ is coming apart, (history tells us), one can reach a point at which there is no possibility of revival within the old, but still prevailing, system. An externality of some sort – maybe war, or some other calamity or a Trump – is necessary to tip the congealed system ‘over’: thus, the external intrusion can be the catalyst for (often traumatic) transformational change.

Stockman puts it starkly: “the single most important thing to know about the present risk environment [he is pointing here to both the political risk as well as financial risk environment], is that it is extreme, and unprecedented. In essence, the ruling elites and their mainstream media megaphones have arrogantly decided that the 2016 [US Presidential] election was a correctible error”.

But complacency simply is endemic: “The utter fragility of the latest and greatest Fed bubble could not be better proxied than in this astounding fact. To wit, during the last 5,000 trading days (20 years), the VIX (a measure of market volatility) has closed below 10 on just 11 occasions. And 7 of those have been during the last month! … That’s complacency begging to be monkey-hammered”, Stockman says.

Former Presidential candidate, Pat Buchanan concurs: “President Trump may be chief of state, head of government and commander in chief, but his administration is shot through with disloyalists plotting to bring him down.

To continue reading: Coming Apart: The Imperial City At The Brink